I have already written my lament at the passing of Gourmet magazine. I miss it most at Christmastime. Every year I would wait for the cookie-covered December issue to arrive to see what new delight I could bake to send to family members. And then, when publication of Gourmet stopped, it was with the November issue. You know that those holiday cookie recipes were already written, the December cover photo already chosen. It was a doubly cruel blow. But I have my back issues.
Every year, I go into my office, and poke through the plastic magazine holders to find the December 1994 Gourmet. It contains a family favorite, Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti, on page 236. Actually, that's not quite true. I have never made the recipe with walnuts. They are wonderful nuts, and I always have them on hand, but to me chocolate and hazelnuts are made for each other. So I mix up a batch of chocolate hazelnut biscotti every year to send to my brother's family in North Carolina. They are a holiday favorite of my niece, Deborah. And since Deborah and her husband Darin are among the few (yet special!) regular readers of my blog, I have decided that this year, my present to them will be the Christmas biscotti recipe.
Double Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
(as adapted from Gourmet, December 1994, page 236)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs (I prefer brown)
- 1 cup hazelnuts, rough chopped
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and butter and flour a large baking sheet. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs and mix until well-combined. Stir in the flour mixture to form a soft dough. Stir in the hazelnuts and chocolate chips.
On the prepared cookie sheet, form the dough into two slightly flattened logs, each about twelve inches long and about two inches wide. (Flouring your hands makes this easier.) Dust the top of each log well with the confectioners' sugar. Bake the logs 35 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch. As the logs bake and expand, the tops will crack slightly. Cool the logs on the baking sheet for about five minutes.
On a cutting board, using a sharp knife to slice cleanly through the hazelnuts without tearing the dough, cut the log diagonally (or straight across--my preference) into 3/4-inch slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut sides down, on a clean baking sheet and bake until crisp--about ten minutes. Cool the biscotti on a rack. They don't keep well because as they bake, the biscotti make the entire house smell like chocolate, and they are eaten almost immediately! I was able to keep some once in a holiday tin, for three days because I had labelled zucchini bread. I am sure they would freeze beautifully.
So, Deborah and Darin, the biscotti are in the mail. The tradition is yours now. Merry Christmas!